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If you are expecting to expect, you will definitely have heard about estrogen levels in the body and their importance, at least in passing. A component of IVF medication, this is usually prescribed to women who are looking to utilize a donor egg or donated embryos. However, what is the actual importance of estrogen for fertility and how can it affect your chances of getting pregnant? Let us take a deeper look at that.
What is Estrogen and How Does It Work?
Estrogen is one of the two main female sex hormones, the other being progesterone. Both play a significant role in the development of the female reproductive system and estrogen plays a part in regulating the start of puberty in females. In women, control of the menstrual cycles, bone health and the mood of the person is determined by the estrogen levels in the body. If the estrogen levels in the body are too high or too low, it can change the fertility levels of the woman. This is why most surrogates and intended mothers are given this hormone, in the form of estradiol.
Why Do Infertile Patients Need Estrogen?
Women usually have one question in their minds – ‘Can I get pregnant with low estrogen levels?’ You may always be able to, but your chances of sustaining a pregnancy are higher when the estrogen levels in the body are just right. Too high or too low levels of estrogen can have a detrimental effect when you are trying to get pregnant.
Estrogen levels hold tremendous importance because they are necessary for the functioning of the uterus. The uterine lining of a woman must be able to grow and should be maintained for the pregnancy to sustain. For this, estrogen levels in the body must be right. Estradiol supports the estrogen needs, thickens the uterine lining so that the fertilized egg can implant there with ease. The hormone also prepares the body to breastfeed after the birth of the child, so it is extremely important.
How Does low Estrogen Impact Fertility
Estrogen levels in the body can affect both men and women when it comes to fertility issues.
1. Male Fertility
Estrogen is primarily a female sex hormone, but it is present in the male body too. The testes of the male produce a small amount of estrogen regularly, and it can have a psychological effect on the man too. Estrogen plays a significant role in male fertility. Studies prove that male animals who were unresponsive to estrogen had lower sperm counts and were mostly infertile. Estrogen present in the semen is usually reabsorbed by the body as the sperm travels during ejaculation, thus making the sperm more potent and increasing the sperm count. Therefore, normal estrogen levels in the male body have been found to be extremely important for fertility.
2. Female Fertility
Low estrogen levels in females can have an impact on their ability to have children, owing to various reasons. Estrogen levels in the body can be low because of the pituitary gland issues, which can lead to the female body not releasing the egg during the time of ovulation. Without the ovulation process, there is no chance that the person will ever be pregnant. If the ovaries are not releasing the eggs, the pituitary starts flooding the blood with the Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which is designed to prompt the ovary to make estrogen hormones. Therefore, an excess of FSH in the blood may mean that you will have difficulties when you try to conceive.
What are the Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency?
Symptoms of estrogen deficiency in women include:
- Hot flashes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Low back pain
- Thinning hair
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- A migraine
- Night Sweats
How does High Estrogen Impact Fertility
High estrogen levels impact the fertility of the body too. They are usually caused by a series of extrinsic factors, which interfere with your natural hormone balance. This can affect your entire body and not just the reproductive health.
What are the Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance?
The symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
- Hair loss
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased sex drive
- Depression with agitation
- Dry eyes
- Irregular periods
- Sluggish metabolism
- Breast cancer
- Fat gain around mid-section
How to Naturally Balance Estrogen Levels for Fertility
There is no specific answer to what is a good estrogen level to get pregnant – it differs from person to person. However, both deficiency and dominance of estrogen are bad, since it can affect your fertility levels. There are different methods to keeping your estrogen levels in check, for deficiency and dominance.
1. For Estrogen Deficiency
So how to raise estrogen levels to get pregnant? There are many ways, but no specific method as to how to increase estrogen for fertility. The luteinizing hormone levels in the body have to be increased since that regulates the manufacture of estrogen in females. Also, the deficiency can be as a result of the pituitary malfunctioning – the reasons could be excessive exercising or eating disorders. The most important thing to do is to eat healthily, and avoid being underweight. Medication and the use of herbs and supplements with the help of the doctor can help. Estrogen pills for fertility are useful here.
2. For Estrogen Dominance
The dominance of estrogen in the body could be caused by a poor diet, stress, hormone replacement therapy, obesity and consumption of environmental estrogen-like xenoestrogen. This is found in processed food items, which are normally high in fat or sugar. Deficiency of vitamin B6 and magnesium can also result in estrogen dominance. Pesticides and growth hormones used in the case of food items like vegetables and meat can contain xenoestrogen, so you will have to start eating organic and healthy.
Balanced levels of estrogen in the body are essential if you want to get pregnant, so care must be taken to ensure they are right. Visit a doctor if you are unsure of your estrogen levels or notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms.